NEW YORK (Reuters) - The 18-year-old who triggered the prosecution of Jerry Sandusky for sexually abusing him and nine other boys told ABC News the former Penn State coach once chased him down with his car as he tried to flee.
Aaron Fisher, previously known as Victim 1, has revealed his identity since testifying against Sandusky at his June trial. Sandusky, 68, was convicted of 45 counts of child sex abuse and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Fisher was just 10 when he met Sandusky through the former coach’s charity for at-risk children, The Second Mile, in 2004. At first, Sandusky seemed like “the all-natural father figure,” Fisher told ABC in the “20/20” interview broadcast on Friday night.
But after a year of box seats at Penn State football games and weekend trips with the coach, Fisher said he was being sexually abused in Sandusky’s basement, leaving him confused and ashamed.
“Being a kid, you never know what to do. You don’t know who you can tell because you don’t know who you can trust,” he said on ABC.
The attacks continued for years, with Sandusky misusing his position as a volunteer coach to pull the boy out of class. Fisher’s attempts to hide or flee were met with a tightened leash, and Sandusky became aggressive.
“He once followed my bus home from school,” Fisher said. “I took off running but he drove on the opposite side of the street, onto oncoming traffic to catch up with me. I ran up an alley and he went to my house and parked out front.”
Fisher has revealed his identity in interviews before the October 23 release of his book “Silent No More: Victim 1’s Fight for Justice Against Jerry Sandusky,” published by Random House.
“A victim means people feel sympathy for you. I don’t want that. I would rather be somebody that did something good, like a hero or something,” Fisher told ABC.
When he was 15, Fisher broke down and told his mother, Dawn Daniels, and the school’s principal, Karen Probst, that Sandusky was sexually abusing him.
“Aaron was melting down in the office,” Daniels told ABC. “I immediately told them we need to call the police.”
But the school principal advised her to go home and think over her next steps.
“They said that Jerry has a heart of gold and that he wouldn’t do those type of things,” Daniels said.
Instead, Daniels told the principal she would be calling Clinton County Children and Youth Services. School officials, legally mandated to make such reports, called too.
Probst did not return calls from Reuters for comment.
It took three years, two grand juries and a lengthy search for more victims before Sandusky was arrested in November 2011, just before Fisher’s 18th birthday.
The long delay in prosecuting Sandusky drove Fisher to attempt suicide, he told ABC, especially when investigators told him they needed to find more victims.
”You start to doubt yourself,“ Fisher said. ”I thought maybe it would be easier to take myself out of the equation. I was extremely suicidal.
“It’s a fact that I lost a good portion of my childhood,” he told ABC. “I endured heartaches and numerous amounts of people who didn’t believe me and walked away from me.”
Reporting by Barbara Goldberg and Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Bill Trott